MIND MELD: How to Avoid The Suck Fairy of Re-Reads

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This week we asked our participants to talk about the perils of re-reading. Going back to a book read in one’s golden age of SF reading can be a fraught exercise. Characters we thought we wonderful can turn out to be wooden. Settings we thought diverse and open turn out to be monochromatic. Plots that enthralled us can seem facile. Books we enjoyed can be rife with questionable material. Writers whose work we loved can turn out to be terrible human beings.

Q: Let’s talk about Jo Walton’s “Suck fairy”. How do you find the process of re-reading a book? How does a re-read of a book change your initial bliss and happiness with the book? Do you have any strategies for avoiding disappointment? What books have managed to escape the suck fairy for you?

Here’s what they said…

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Where did the time go? It’s hard to believe that 2014 is half over. With that in mind, I asked our panelists this question:

Q: What were your favorite science fiction and fantasy titles that were published during the first half of this year?

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Villains: We love to hate them and bad guys, and gals (and other things that fit into the baddie category), can haunt our dreams and capture our imaginations. With that in mind, I asked our panelists this:

Q: What are a few of your favorite literary (SF/Fantasy/Horror/Spec. Fiction) villains, and why? What made them stand out for you?

Here’s what they had to say…

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MIND MELD: Marvel and DC and Star Wars, Oh My!

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DC reportedly has at least seven movies in development. Marvel has movies planned out to 2028. Star Wars kicks off a new trilogy next year and has at least two spinoffs already in development. Then there are the upcoming TV shows — Gotham, The Flash, Agent Carter, Daredevil… With that in mind, we asked our esteemed panel…

Q: Is this too much of a good thing? Or a dream come true? Do you ever get sick of the constant movie news updates? What are your thoughts about the recent influx of shows and movies from these big franchises?

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This week we asked our participants about their reading habits:

Q: How long do you have a book before you read it? We, as biblioholics and voracious readers often accumulate books at a greater pace than we can read them. What is the longest you’ve had a book before you’ve read it and/or how long do you typically let a book sit before you read it?

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We have an additional entry on our Mind Meld on the connections between Myth, Classics and Genre, from None other than Judith Tarr!

Q: The Iliad and the Odyssey…the Epic of Gilgamesh…the MahabharataJourney to the West… These ancient myths and stories, and many others seem to partake of genre elements. Are they, in fact, on the Road to Science Fiction, to quote James Gunn’s classic series? How do they fit into the world of genre? How can they inform and be used in modern reinterpretations and borrowings of these myths and stories? What writers and stories best rework these myths and legends?

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This week we asked our participants to dive into ancient legends, history and myth:

Q: The Iliad and the Odyssey…the Epic of Gilgamesh…the MahabharataJourney to the West… These ancient myths and stories, and many others seem to partake of genre elements. Are they, in fact, on the Road to Science Fiction, to quote James Gunn’s classic series? How do they fit into the world of genre? How can they inform and be used in modern reinterpretations and borrowings of these myths and stories? What writers and stories best rework these myths and legends?

Here’s what they said…

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Jason Andrew is the co-Editor (with Mae Empson) of the new anthology The Future Embodied, an anthology of speculative stories exploring how science and technology might change our bodies and what it means to be human. It’s available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

The Future Embodied is an anthology of speculative stories exploring how science and technology might change our bodies and what it means to be human. Imagine what our ancestors a mere hundred years ago would have thought of the modern world. Think of the medical marvels we experience on a daily basis that would have seemed impossible. Recent medical advances have dramatically extended the human life-span to unthinkable lengths. Science has changed how we live in this world. Technology has allowed humanity to dramatically alter our environment, how we communicate, and how we experience life.

Imagine now what our descendants might experience. What new trials or tribulations will the future of humanity suffer, or overcome?

The final frontier won’t be out in space but inside our own bodies. Experience the future as imagined via nineteen powerful voices envisioning what we might become. Including stories from: William F. Nolan, David Gerrold, Ree Soesbee, Jennifer Brozek, Katrina Nicholson, Nghi Vo, Jennifer R. Povey, Sarah Pinsker, Thomas Brennan, Miles Britton, Megan Lee Beals, Lauren C. Teffeau, Shane Robinson, John Skylar, Preston Dennett, Alexandra Grunberg, Wayne Helge, and Holly Schofield.

I asked several of the antholgy’s authors the following question:

Q: The Future Embodied is a science fiction anthology about how science and technology might change our bodies in the future. What do you think the next big change will be for humanity and how will it alter the way we live?

Here’s what they said…
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There were so many wonderful debut authors in 2013, and the last post was so much fun, I asked a few more of them this:

Q: What was the most fun/unusual/interesting/etc thing you’ve learned since becoming a published author?

Here’s what they had to say…

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MIND MELD: Our Dream Anthologies

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Everyone wants to be a anthologist, right? So we asked our panelists to put on their editor’s hats and create their very own anthology.

Q: What would your dream genre anthology be?

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MIND MELD: Books We’ve Worn Out Re-Reading

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There are books we read once. There are books we re-read. And then there are the books that we wear out because we devour it again and again. These are the books for which we have to buy ourselves another copy immediately upon lending out because we’re sure we will never see it again — or just want to make sure we have it on hand.

Q: What are some of these genre books for you? Why do you go back to them again and again?

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Be it stand alone comics or an ongoing storyline, everyone enjoys a good webcomic. But I need some new ones to follow and explore. With that in mind, I asked our panelists this question:

Q: Which webcomic should I be reading right now? What do you most enjoy about it?

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[Here’s an addendum to the Mind Meld about Books That Have Had a Profound Effect on Readers and Writers, coming from Robin Riopelle.]

Books have the power to make us laugh, cry, and everything in between, and there are those books (you know what I’m talking about) that can actually change the way we think and influence us in very powerful ways, even changing the course of our lives. I asked our panel this question:

Q: As authors, and readers, what book or books have affected you in a profound way, and why?

Here’s what Robin had to say…

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Books have the power to make us laugh, cry, and everything in between, and there are those books (you know what I’m talking about) that can actually change the way we think and influence us in very powerful ways, even changing the course of our lives. I asked our panel this question:

Q: As authors, and readers, what book or books have affected you in a profound way, and why?

Here’s what they had to say…

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[Here’s an addendum to the this week’s Mind Meld that asked: Where would you take the T.A.R.D.I.S., coming from Rachel Swirksy]

Q: If you could take one trip in the T.A.R.D.I.S., where would you go?

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MIND MELD: Where Would You Take the T.A.R.D.I.S.?

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It was the recent Mind Meld on Favorite Convention Panels, combined with the romance of the phrase “All of time and space. Everything that ever happened or ever will…,” that inspired me to ask our panelists this question:

Q: If you could take one trip in the T.A.R.D.I.S., where would you go?

Here’s what they said:
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The Bram Stoker Award final ballot was recently announced, reminding me why horror as a genre is so much fun, so in that spirit, I asked our panel these questions:

Q: What first piqued your interest in horror, and why do you enjoy writing in the genre? What direction do you see the genre taking in the future, and who are a few of your favorite horror writers, books, or stories?

Here’s what they had to say…

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MIND MELD: Epic Geek Debates & Rants

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Geeks are a passionate and opinionated people. Put two of them in a room and more often than not a debate and/or rant will ensue. Sometimes it’s not pretty. With that in mind, we asked our esteemed panel of geeks the following:

Q: What was the first or most memorable geeky pop-culture debate you ever had? Or what’s that one thing you can’t stop ranting about? What was the outcome? Are you still on speaking terms with your opponent? Why are you so passionate about this?

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MIND MELD: Our Favorite Convention Panels

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This week, we asked our panlists about their favorite Convention Panels:

Q: What was the best convention panel you ever attended? What was the best convention panel you were ever on? If you could set up your ideal convention panel, what would be the topic and who would be on it?

This is what they said…

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MIND MELD: Blurring the Lines in Genre Fiction

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I love novels that can walk the lines of multiple genres, so, in that spirit, I asked our panelists these questions:

Q: As a writer, why do you think it’s important to step outside of your comfort zones when writing, perhaps to explore other genres? What books have you read that blur the lines between genres and do it effectively?

Here’s what they had to say…

Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Winger and The Marbury Lens. He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. Grasshopper Jungle is his seventh novel, followed by 100 Sideways Miles, his eighth, coming in September 2014. He lives in Southern California.

I honestly do not think of “genres” at all when I write. I also don’t envision a targeted audience. I know that this goes against the philosophy of the majority, but it’s how I write. I write the story that pleases me, and I write it entirely for myself. I’m not a big fan of “comfort zones” when writing, either, because being comfortable sounds too much like sticking to the same old formula. I like to experiment with plot, narrative style, content, and structure every time I start something new. This is frequently challenging, but it keeps things interesting, too. I don’t like feeling bored or boxed in by a particular brand. So it’s always been the most difficult thing for me to precisely categorize any novel of mine in terms of genre and what it might be comparable to.

I think a lot of Vonnegut’s work scatters across the constraints of genre. I also admire Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume and Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. In terms of YA literature, I’m a big fan of A.S. King’s work.

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